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by Deb Shaw, from the Illustrators Partnership

For more than a decade, there have been periodic attempts to “bring balance” to copyright policy and law. These efforts have been promoted by large corporations and tech companies, and are a euphemism for the goal of completely upending the premise of copyright law.

As the law now stands, each of us, as artists, own the copyright to our work, even if we do not register it with the copyright office. We created it; it is ours.

Rather than protecting us, the creator and artist, the copyright “reformers” want to make public access to creators’ work the law’s main function. They would require creators to register each and every work in which we wish to retain any commercial or personal interest.

Dr. Carla Hayden, the new Librarian of Congress, suddenly fired Maria Pallante, U.S. Register of Copyrights, at the end of last October, and is now soliciting advice on the “knowledge, skills and abilities” people think the new Register should have. It has been widely reported by credible sources that Dr. Hayden favors looser copyright laws.

Artists, musicians, writers and creators have fought to maintain strong copyright laws each time this has surfaced in the past, and have been successful so far. Now it’s time to make our voices heard again.

Dr. Hayden and the Library of Congress has posted a short survey (only 3 questions). The deadline for responses to the survey is tomorrow, January 31, 2017. It is important, as artists, to respond to this survey with a strong call to retain the full protections of copyright as provided for in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. If you do not have time to write, the Illustrators’ Partnership has provided suggestions for you to copy and paste.

Here are the links:

 

Reposted in its entirety by Deb Shaw from an article from the Illustrators Partnership. The Illustrators Partnership has posted a request with the following article to “Please post or forward this artist alert to any interested party.”

From the Illustrators Partnership: Google Prevails in Copyright Lawsuit
Next Stop: Supreme Court
How will outcome affect artists?

October 16, 2015

Four years ago the Google Book Search Settlement was thrown out of court on the grounds that neither party to the agreement had legal standing to carve up the exclusive rights of the world’s authors. In his ruling, Judge Denny Chin wrote that it was for Congress, not the courts, to decide on the future of copyright law.

Since then, however, the courts have been chipping away at copyright, expanding the scope of what’s called “fair use,” that is, how much someone can use of your work without your permission.

Today an appeals court ruled in Google’s favor, according to an online article in Fortune.

“It’s finally over. An appeals court confirmed that Google’s scanning of more than 20 million books counts as fair use.

“It’s been ten years since authors first sued Google over the decision to scan millions of books, but now an appeals court appears to have confirmed once and for all the scanning did not violate copyright law.”

To be clear, this does NOT directly affect the new orphan works legislation currently being considered by Congress. But it’s a safe bet that corporation lobbyists will use it to argue that the decision paves the way for it:

“Friday’s appeals court ruling is significant because it clears the legal uncertainty that has been hanging over Google for a decade, and also because it provides more guidance on what qualifies as fair use in a digital age.

“In particular, the court states on several occasions how copyright law represents a balance between authors and the public, and points out how many forms of fair use are partly commercial.
[Emphasis added.]

The Authors Guild has announced that it plans to appeal to the Supreme Court:

“We are disheartened that the court was unable to comprehend the grave impact that this decision, if left standing, could have on copyright incentives and, ultimately, our literary heritage. We trust that the Supreme Court will see fit to correct the Second Circuit’s reductive understanding of fair use, and to recognize Google’s seizure of property as a serious threat to writers and their livelihoods, one which will affect the depth, resilience and vitality of our intellectual culture.”

Thanks to all of you who wrote the Copyright Office this summer, and let’s all buckle our seat belts. We could be in for a bumpy ride.

Letters submitted by Illustrators Partnership and ASIP can be read on our Orphan Works Blog:

by Deb Shaw

There is an imminent deadline this week, Thursday, October 1, 2015, for artists (and the public) to make “reply comments” to the Copyright Office regarding the return of Orphan Works legislation.

If you are concerned your ability as an artist to make a living and retain copyright ownership of your art, it is important to understand the proposed changes to copyright law. More than 2600 letters were written and filed during the initial comment period for the proposed changes—the majority by artists concerned about or against the proposed changes to copyright. These are the final two days to add your voice.

The following is from the Illustrators’ Partnership: read some of the letters written or write a first letter for yourself (in case you missed the initial opportunity), or comment on points made by others. It is important to become informed and participate.

_______

From the Illustrators Partnership:
Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner for the Board of the Illustrators’ Partnership

We want to thank all of you who wrote to the Copyright Office several weeks ago regarding the return of Orphan Works legislation. The Copyright Office received nearly 2,600 letters, an unprecedented response.

Nearly all are from artists protesting the draft legislation proposed to Congress in June.

To put our response in context, orphan works legislation has been based on fewer than 215 letters sent to the Copyright Office in 2005. That means our initial response trumped those total comments by a factor of 10.

The letters have been posted here: http://copyright.gov/policy/visualworks/comments/
You may find accessing the full set of comments in this PDF a bit of a challenge. See these instructions if you have problems.

Now the next step will be to write “reply comments.” We hope everyone will take the opportunity to write again.

A “reply comment” can take any form you’d like. We’d suggest 1 of 2 ways:
1. Take one or more comments you agree with and say that you agree.
2. Take one or more comments you disagree with and explain why you disagree.

We invite you to consider endorsing the letter submitted by the Illustrators Partnership. It’s key sentence reads:

“Because Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution grants authors the exclusive rights to their work, it is our understanding that those rights cannot be abridged without a constitutional amendment.”

The full letter can be found in Document #1: Direct Initial Comments. It’s listed alphabetically under Illustrators Partnership.

Reply Comments are due October 1, 2015. American and foreign artists can both submit their letters online here: http://copyright.gov/policy/visualworks/comment-form/

Comments must be submitted using the comment submission form or they will not be considered part of the public record.

Please be advised:

“The Office intends to post the written comments and documentary evidence on its website in the form in which they are received. Parties should keep in mind that any private, confidential, or personally identifiable information appearing in their comment will be accessible to the public.”

Special note to foreign artists: If you are submitting from outside the US, under “State,” please scroll down to the bottom and select “Non U.S.A. Location.”

For those who didn’t write the first time, please don’t miss the opportunity to do so now. Please post or forward this artist alert to any interested party.

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